COVID-19 EXPERT LEGAL INSIGHTS

Update to the Government’s advice on home moving during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak

2 June 2020

Since we published our blog “Conveyancing in a time of COVID-19: Can I still exchange contracts on my property?” the Government has revised its advice on moving home.

With affect from 13 May 2020, the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) Regulations 2020, only permitting house moves “where reasonably necessary”, were amended to allow anyone to move home if they wish to do so.

The Government has published a revised guidance note with public health information to ensure that moving home and key activities around this (including viewing, surveys and removals) can happen safely and in accordance with social distancing measures.

The new Government guidance can be read in full on the gov.uk website here.  

Some key points to note are:

  • This does not represent a return to normality and we need to accept that standard practices and procedures for finding and moving into a new home will need to be adapted to ensure that the risk of the spread of the virus is reduced as far as possible.  For example, it is advised that as much of the process as possible (including viewings) takes place online.
  • Parties are still encouraged to be flexible and to be prepared to delay moves where one of the parties or a member of their household is self-isolating or has tested positive for coronavirus.  Individuals should not expect to move into any home where someone has tested positive for coronavirus or is self-isolating.  Additional precautionary measures may need to be taken if a party is clinically vulnerable.
  • As there is still a risk that completion may need to be delayed, it is still advised that parties and their legal advisors consider making provision for this in the sale contract.  We considered some ways of doing this in our previous blog.
  • The Government may need to pause home moves for a short period of time in the future to manage the spread of coronavirus. 

The new guidance is a huge relief for the housing market as we continue to adapt to “the new normal”.

FURTHER INFORMATION

If you would like to discuss how the Government's current advice may affect your property transaction, please contact a member of our Real Estate & Construction team.

You may be interested in our podcast series Property done Properly which condenses key topics and discussions around property law in to two minute podcasts.

 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Francesca Gibbs is an Associate in our Real Estate & Construction team. Francesca advises on residential and commercial transactions and property and development financing.

 

 

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